Julie Bishop is considering her future. Picture: Colin Murty The Australian
Julie Bishop is considering her future. Picture: Colin Murty The Australian

ALL OVER: Bishop’s classy exit speech

AFTER a week of turmoil and political backstabbing, Julie Bishop has made a graceful exit from her high-profile role in politics.

The former foreign minister addressed the media today following her resignation from Cabinet on Sunday, opening up about the Liberal leadership spill and her resignation as foreign minister.

Ms Bishop said last week's chain of events unfolded last week "at such a rapid pace that I had to make a number of what some might say were life-changing decisions without giving them my usual due regard for the consequences".

"While I'm very comfortable with the decisions that I have made, there were a number of people who I didn't speak to directly, who were those most affected by them," she said.

"First, I want to say to my Liberal colleagues - thank you for supporting me as the deputy of the party for the past 11 years."

Asked about the Liberal party's "week of madness", Ms Bishop declined to give her thoughts saying: "I want to move on from the events of last week. I don't think at that it is going to assist the new government if I pontificate on those issues".

Ms Bishop confirmed she would stay on as the local MP for Curtin as she had the "overwhelming support of my constituents".

"I'm optimistic about my future whatever it may hold," she said.

When asked whether she could see herself returning to a senior position or even taking on the leadership after the next election, Ms Bishop appears to be leaving her options open.

"It's far too early to even contemplate what I might do but I will have plenty of time to reflect on my options and reflect on what has been an extraordinary time," Ms Bishop said.

There had been speculation Ms Bishop could be appointed to be Australia's next Governor-General but Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has said the appointment should be delayed until after the next election.

Ms Bishop was asked if she could see a point when the Liberal party would bring itself to elect a popular female leader, answering: "Well, when we find one, I'm sure we will".

During the press conference Ms Bishop wished her successor as foreign minister, Marise Payne every success in the role and urged her to continue to fight for justice for the families of those killed on board flight MH17.

When asked whether MH17 was a "defining moment" in her time as foreign minister, Ms Bishop said: "I don't know that it was a defining moment. But it was the most emotional moment of my life. So, I want to ensure that the people for whom we fought do get justice".

Ms Bishop also described prime minister Malcolm Turnbull as a "remarkable person" and said they had been dear friends for almost 30 years.

"We have left the leadership team together and, as closer friends than ever before," she said.

 

Malcolm Turnbull with Julie Bishop in Canberra last week. Picture: David Gray/AP
Malcolm Turnbull with Julie Bishop in Canberra last week. Picture: David Gray/AP

Ms Bishop said she thought it was appropriate to resign her ministerial position given the circumstances, describing the role as "one of the most significant positions in the government".

She said Australia's economic prosperity and national security depended on its international engagement.

"Australia is highly regarded as a robust democracy, as an economic powerhouse, whatever the challenges … and as a trusted partner that can be relied upon to stand up for our values and our interests," she said.

Ms Bishop indicated she did not support Australia pulling out of the Paris agreement to reduce carbon emissions after being asked about the potential impact.

"I believe that Australia has a very high standing as a nation that keeps its commitments and is part of the overall global effort for better outcomes for the world," she said. "When we sign a treaty, our partners should be able to rely upon us."

Ms Bishop praised the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and described Australia's network of diplomats as among the finest in the world.

"I'm very proud of the fact that Frances Adamson is our first female secretary of the

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade," she said.

Ms Bishop said Australia's priorities had been set out in the Foreign Policy White Paper released last year and this included a strong, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific, pushing for trade liberalisation and fight against protectionism, an international rules-based order, to keep Australians safe at home and abroad, and ensuring the Pacific was safe and prosperous.

"I wish ScoMo (Scott Morrison) and Joshy (Josh Frydenberg) and the Cabinet and the ministry, every success in providing good governance for Australia," she said.


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